October 26th – Living Temples v. Senseless Temples



I came across this quotation from Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, which he said when selling the gold and silver vessels of his church, during the famine of AD 980:
“There is no reason that the senseless temples of God should abound in riches and the living temples of the Holy Spirit starve in hunger.”
There you have the heart and soul of the Christian teaching about famine or feast, poverty or plenty. Provision is always made by God. He never withholds his bounty. The only world shortage is a shortage of sharing. When people starve, why should others at the same time, on the same globe, die through over-eating? The answer is simply: human greed. We keep and horde what we have, and only ever give the scraps we can easily afford, and will never miss. That’s why in a world of plenty, children starve.
Bishop Ethelwold, over a thousand years ago, saw through the Christian hypocrisy which could worship in gold plated temples, and use the most opulently jewelled artefact in its worship, which was not in the same street or even the same planet as their Lord, who said “Feed them”: “Share what you have”: and “how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the Kingdom of God”, including especially his church.
Do you remember that rather inadequate parable that did the rounds a few years ago? The Angel Gabriel was taking a visitor round heaven and hell. In hell, all the dining tables were full of delicious food, but requiring spoons in order to eat it. However, each spoon was 4 feet long. So they fought and starved. The visitor was surprised to find that in the dining room in heaven, exactly the same arrangements were made. “How can this be?” he asked Gabriel. “Ah well, here they all feed one another”. I guess that’s the point I’m making. A rich, well-fed, bejewelled and opulent church in a starving, poverty ridden world, is an offence to God. No wonder that the Bible says:
For it is time for judgement to begin with the family f God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? I Peter 4:17
A Prayer:
Lord Jesus, release in me your compassion to see people’s need before religious taboos, and give me the courage to act on it.
Now read Matthew 12: 1-21 (and turn verse 4 into a prayer).

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Thought 4 The Day

God does not judge how much you give, but how much you keep for yourself.

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